What does separation of church and state mean to you as it pertains to the United States ?
the virginia statute for religious freedom
the rule of law
the virginia statute for religious freedom : the road to the first amendment .
many colonists came to america to escape religious persecution. but colonies soon adopted laws that limited relgious freedom and forced people to pay taxes to support churches they did not believe in . dissenters started protesting to abolish these laws .an important change came in 1786 when virginia passed the statute for religious freedom. drafted by thomas jefferson the new law served as a model for the first amendment . it established a clear seperation of church and state and was one of jeffersons proudest accomplishments .
bill No. 82 the fight to seperate church and state .
in the autumn of 1776 , virginia's new house of delegates met and welcomed back thomas jefferson , jefferson was 33 years old and already an important figure and had been a delegate to the continental conference and was the author of the declaration of independence . now back in virginia jefferson decided to create a new government for his state . in october he proposed a complete revision of his states laws . key amongst the laws jefferson believed needed to be rewritten were the restriction on religious freedom . jefferson strongly believed not only in religious freedom of worship but also an end to all control and support of religion by the state .
after 2 years of work , jefferson and committee of revisors presented a list of 126 proposed laws to the virginia assembly in june 1779 . many of the new laws were minor changes , but bill no 82was a major change . drafted by jefferson , the bill removed all links between religion and government . in a lengthy preamble , the bill laid powerful reasons for de-establishing religion , it is , jefferson wrote ,"sinful and tyrannical" to compel a man to furnish contributions of money , "for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors ........our civil rights" he wrote "have no dependence on our religious opinions , any more than our opinions on physics and geometry " . be it therfore enacted , the bill stated .
that no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious
worship, place, or ministry whatsoever.....nor shall otherwise suffer on
account of his religious freedoms or belief , but that all men shall be free to
profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion
a lot of historians agree , that this was the first glimmerings of true religious freedom any where in the world to that point in time .
Edited by puckinloveicehockey, 11 April 2012 - 01:50 AM.